Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick Post: Community-Oriented Person Who Owes No Debt!

A few days ago I was speaking to a friend who is an attorney. He just so happens to be doing very well at the moment. Plus, he has no debt as result of his education. However, he recognizes that he went to school at a very different time. It was a time when school was affordable. This friend wholeheartedly believes that this student loan crisis needs to be solved. He understands the societal and financial repercussions if we do not attend to this serious problem.

That reminds me of another conversation I had a few months ago with a highly successful consultant. This consultant attended a top-notch school. I brought up the student loan crisis during our talk. He agreed that it was a problem. Then he told me that he belongs to the alumni group at said top-notch university. That group recently highlighted the rise in tuition at the university. He found that ridiculous. He said something along the lines of, "they are squeezing money out of the wrong people [the middle class]."

Then he laughed and said, "I will be giving away my age, but when I went to [top-notch university] the cost was so reasonable that I could work during the summers at a camp and afford to pay for the whole school year."

Wow - that speaks volumes. In response to the NYT article about the city of Albany passing the resolution to forgive student loan debt, a commenter was against the proposal. They made a good point: the cost of tuition needs to be addressed instead. I agree, but that is just one other piece of this complex puzzle.

I also wanted to highlight a great remark from another post there. They wrote:

"My parents paid for my years at an Ivy League college where I earned a nice Degree. From there I was able to pick a job that I enjoyed and that fit my skills - all unencumbered by debt. What a nice way to head out into the World on my own!

While I was lucky, I do very much wish everyone had that same chance.

— jpgaskell"

Like my attorney pal, who's doing very well, this person obviously understands the reasons for why this movement has grown and why the proposal makes sense.

I applaud these types of people - the ones who understand why this matters to all of us (debt free or otherwise). They are clearly community-oriented, and that's something that invokes patriotic feelings. It reminds me of the first time I really experienced a 4th of July and felt inspired by its historical significance. It was in Boston. My favorite people in the world were there - my family - and we got to stand atop a rooftop of a beautiful old apartment on Commonwealth Avenue. I've never seen fireworks that big. As those fireworks fell past us, I thought about my family's love and support. For it was on that day my family had helped me with things related to my own Ivy League Education. I was heading to Harvard in the Fall to be an exchange scholar. I was filled with so much hope and awe. When I read things like this above, those feelings return, and it makes me feel hopeful about our future generations and their right to obtain college degrees without paying a dreadful cost: the dashing of those dreams behind obtaining an education.

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